Quidich Enhances Live Sports Broadcasts with Innovative Camera Solutions and AJA FS-HDR
As global audiences are inundated with more content options, Quidich’s seasoned team of broadcast technology specialists are helping content providers cut through the noise and retain viewers with innovative camera solutions. Quidich Chief Operating Officer Neil Gokhale recently sat down with us to discuss the company’s game-changing developments and use of AJA gear. Check out these conversation highlights:
Quidich is a leading broadcast technology company that develops cutting-edge camera solutions to enhance storytelling and capture never-before-seen angles for live sporting events, film, and television. Our company founders have roots in filmmaking and engineering, and over the years, we’ve developed integrated services that leverage drones, buggies, AR, graphics, and live player tracking to enhance the viewer experience.
Our clientele spans sports and entertainment, including leagues for cricket, football, basketball, and kabaddi – one of the fastest growing sports in India – as well as major Bollywood film studios for feature films released on cinema screens and OTT platforms. Our foray into the broadcast market was through cricket, and we’ve worked with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the Indian Premier League (IPL) and domestic tournaments, and with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and global leagues across Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, and other regions.
Cricket has been an important and influential sport in our lives, so it was a logical fit for our move into the broadcast market. We recognized a unique opportunity to engage casual cricket fans with the integration of more dynamic camera solutions to add new perspectives and different dimensions to storytelling for viewers during live events. Whereas traditional sports broadcasts feature stationary cameras positioned around the field, we first innovated with the BuggyQam remote controlled vehicle, which offers fans low angle shots and never-before-seen angles during cricket matches. We were also early in developing a live AR tracking solution on a wireless moving camera, with the Spatio system for drones. To provide fans with an even wider gameplay perspective, we further developed the Quidich Tracker (QT), a proprietary real-time optical tracker to display player positioning during live matches.
Which AJA tools are you using in your workflows?
We use a wide range of AJA equipment, including the FS-HDR real-time universal converter and frame synchronizer. FS-HDR is an essential color correction solution for matching our BuggyQam camera output with the broadcast system cameras to ensure a consistent look. Our BuggyQam solution houses a single-sensor camera, whereas all of the other cameras used in our broadcast setups include three CCDs with separate sensors for receiving filtered red, green, and blue colors. FS-HDR allows our team to take the different camera profile raw formats and color match to the output cameras.
What other advantages has FS-HDR brought to your work?
FS-HDR is a well-designed, versatile solution that we’ve been able to take advantage of for real-time color transforms, ingesting multiple feeds in multi-channel mode, and many other use cases. Setting up color profiles prior to games helps us accommodate color temperature and lighting changes with the click of a button, which would take too much time to manually adjust during live broadcasts. The SFP slots are also quite helpful, as they eliminate the need for additional converters when routing BuggyQam feeds to the broadcast control room and provide long distance connectivity over fiber; we’re able to ingest fiber directly through FS-HDR’s SFP slot and output as BNC, saving us money since we don’t need additional devices for BNC/fiber and fiber/BNC transforms. Being able to run up/down/cross conversion on a single device simplifies our workflow, and FS-HDR includes a million helpful features like this that you only realize once you start using it.
How do you source your hardware?
Reliable equipment that performs to specifications is key for live broadcasts. There is a lot of pressure when you’re working on an international flagship event like the T20 Men’s Cricket World Cup, which only occurs once every two years. When all eyes are on us, I look to gear I know I can rely on, like the FS-HDR. In the rare case that something does go wrong, AJA offers quality tech support so that we’re always able to pull off every match successfully.
What format deliverables do you support?
It depends on the broadcaster, as certain clients will request 4K, HDR, or high frame rate content. For example, some geographies typically require 4K content delivery, though specific regions will only broadcast in HD. We capture content at the resolution and specifications required by the broadcaster, and when necessary, we’ll downscale it for internal use cases.
Describe the biggest challenges you face.
Our biggest advantage also turns out to be a disadvantage. When you’re trying to rapidly innovate, the goal post is always moving. We spend time deliberating on what solution will meet current industry demands, and by the time we’re done developing it, the industry has moved on to the next hurdle. It’s a tightrope walk between the market demands and how quickly we can deliver, which is why the spirit of innovation is so important.
What advice would you offer others in the field?
The sports broadcast business is fairly challenging, because it requires months of long hours working back-to-back. The industry is designed for those who are both passionate about sport and technology, and my advice is to persevere until you succeed. You will encounter roadblocks, but each one gets you a step closer to achieving success. At Quidich, we started with a great ambition, stuck with it, and have grown into an impressive business with repeat clients.
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